A Mother's Guide: 24 Easy and Practical Ideas for Living Lent

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"A Mother's Guide to Lent" by Emily Jaminet (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2017 Emily Jaminet. All rights reserved.

Lent is a beautiful time to grow as a person. It’s a time to reset your attitude and to grow in your love for God and others. During Lent, we are advised to make a sacrifice, to deepen our prayer life, and give alms to the poor and the church. Here is a creative and practical list of ideas for moms of things we can offer up for Lent. They are “mommy friendly” and none of them involve giving up chocolate!

[tweet “24 family-friendly ways to sacrifice, give and pray this #Lent by @emilyjaminet”

  1. Allow the Eucharist to be Your Strength. Consider going to Mass one more day a week (check out www.masstimes.org for Mass times at parishes near you).   Maybe you can make the all-school Mass or a Saturday morning Mass. After Lent, we hope this new habit will be one you keep.
  2. Go to confession. Make an appointment on your calendar to receive God’s healing and forgiveness. You will gain new graces to help you in your vocation.
  3. Read the Morning Scripture. Start your day with the readings, unite yourself with Mother Church and the Readings of the Day.
  4. Take the Coffee Mug Challenge. Get a new mug with a prayer or spiritual symbol that will trigger a reminder to say your morning prayers. I have a Morning Offering on mine.
  5. Make Your Calendar One of Prayer. List names of friends, family, and acquaintances for whom you want to offer your special prayers and works on each day of your calendar. It is much easier to offer up your trials, tasks, and prayers when you are thinking of others.
  6. Give Up Take Out. Consider giving up drive-through coffee and other take out meals. Consider going out of your way to cook homemade meals for your family and do it with renewed love and dedication to having family meals together. Save the money you would spend on takeout and donate it to your favorite charity. We love to save our “coffee money” every month and donate it to Mary’s Meals!
  7. Unplug. Work on screen-free hours, days or weeks. Develop time where everyone in your family puts their phones down and interact in a renewed way with your children or spouse.
  8. Pray With Your Spouse Daily. Set just a few minutes aside each night to pray with your husband. It can be a simple decade of the Rosary, sharing your prayer intentions or spontaneous prayer. It can be a little uncomfortable at first, but take it slowly and allow this beautiful new habit to develop. Imagine 40 days of praying with your spouse and the changes it can make in your relationship.   
  9. Declutter. Make it your goal to keep a clean car and home all during Lent. Take some time to work on keeping things neat and orderly. Have your children help and everyone should do it without complaining! When we are better stewards of our things we often appreciate more our many blessings.
  10. 40 bags for 40 days of Lent. Consider cleaning out unwanted clothing, shoes, toys, knickknacks and items from which others can benefit. Begin with asking other friends if they need these items or find a thrift store that targets helping those most in need.
  11. Friendship Fridays. Reach out to your friends on Fridays – send words of encouragement, an old fashioned letter (check out pioprints.com for unique Catholic greeting cards), a text message or best yet, meet up and reconnect.
  12. Work Out with Jesus: take some time this lent to focus on not only your spirit, but your mind, and your body as well. Walk with our Lord, run with our Lord, lift weights with our Lord, do physical acts as a way to strengthen your body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit in a spirit of prayer and contemplation. Lately, I‘ve been watching www.formed.org videos when I am on the treadmill.
  13. Eat Potatoes, Rice or Pasta… Work on reducing your food bill so you are able to reset your family’s finances and are able to tithe more to the poor. Each day offer one of these three starches and challenge yourself to be creative, thankful and open to these staple foods that others around the world live on the entire year.
  14. Listen to Catholic Radio. Catholic Radio is a growing trend around the country and throughout the world. Consider tuning in and listening in on your drive to work, while you are in the kitchen or doing your laundry. This type of radio can not only be informative but you will find it entertaining! I did this as my Lenten offering a few years ago and found it very fulfilling. If you don’t have a local Catholic radio station, stream Catholic radio off your phone or computer.
  15. Read Spiritual Books: There are so many beautiful, inspiring Catholic books that can help us along the journey. Consider starting a book club or joining the St. Teresa’s Book Club online. Another great Lenten study is Divine Mercy for Moms. Our makes for a great study, with free videos, resources and a journal.
  16. Be a Better Friend and Stop Gossiping. Consider practicing this formula for speaking about others: Before you speak or post, take a minute and ask if what you have to say about your friend: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it helpful? Allow this Lent to be a time of taming our tongues and redirecting our thoughts to be more charitable.
  17. Come Holy Spirit! Invoke the Holy Spirit throughout your day and watch this awesome series on the Holy Spirit at www.thewildgooseisloose.com. Your life will never be the same.   
  18. Examine Your Conscience Daily. St. Ignatius gave the advice to always take a moment out to examine our conscience each night before bed. Check out this awesome app by  Fr. Michael Denk, The Examen Prayer app, to help you learn this meditative practice.
  19. Stop Yelling. Make a conscious effort not to yell at your children. This is the hardest thing I have ever done for Lent, however, one priest advised me, if you make it through Lent without failing at least once in your resolve, you chose something too easy!
  20. Examine Your Conscience On the Works of Mercy. Take time out to reflect deeper on these works of mercy and your overall attitudes. Use our  The Corporal Works of Mercy Examination of Conscience and The Spiritual Works of Mercy Examination of Conscience.
  21. Reset your day with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy: This powerful chaplet will bring peace and graces to your day! Consider praying this at 3:00 p.m.
  22. Do the Works of Mercy. Spend less time on Facebook and social media and more time practicing the works of mercy! As a busy mom of 7, I can find myself wasting time trolling the internet and reading about my friends’ lives, but not always reaching out to others. Here is a simple mommy-friendly list of ways to live out the Works of Mercy:  Works of Mercy Checklist for Busy  Moms. and the Spiritual Works of Mercy Checklist for Busy Moms.
  23. Managing Your Children’s Technology. Check out  commonsensemedia.org. If you need an easy way to lock up devices for family meals, bedtime and regain control of devices check out Ourpack. Our family has benefited from these resources and I am sure yours will too!
  24. Work On Faith Formation With Your Children: Take time out to share your personal faith journey with your children. It is easy to tell them about the faith, it is just as important to share them how the faith has impacted your life.

Copyright 2017 Emily Jaminet

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About Author

Emily Jaminet holds a B.A. from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Mental Health and Human Services. Emily and her husband are blessed with 7 wonderful children. She tries to see Christ in the very moments of motherhood and shares daily radio reflections on St. Gabriel Radio broadcasted throughout Ohio and beyond entitled "A Mother's Moment". Her first is book titled Divine Mercy For Moms: Sharing the Lessons of St. Faustina through Ave Maria Press. You can read more of Emily’s work at www.emilyjaminet.com, Divine Mercy for Moms, and The Friendship Project Book.

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